Jerry’s Auto Upholstery Shop

Coincidental Contact

This post is in part due to the book I’m reading: The Accidental Masterpiece – and in a way a pictorial response to a line in the introduction:

“that beauty is often where you don’t expect to find it; that it is something
we may discover and also invent, then reinvent, for ourselves; that the most
important things in the world are never as simple as they seem but that the world is also richer when it declines to abide by comforting formulas.”

Last December I finally decided to stop in and have a conversation with Jerry. I had been photographing a lot of places in and around the “East Village” of Des Moines for a number of different projects… but with out a set narrative to go on except a feeling of realizing an impending change occurring to this area at the foot of the Capital complex. I think I began to feel enough urgency to get over the initial awkwardness / nervousness of being a stranger and gawking around with a camera. I was rewarded with stories about Jerry’s business and his view on the redevelopment occurring in the neighborhood.

Jerry is a genuine old fart. I say this with the utmost respect. His shop is his haven in the world.

Oddly to me – Jerry seemed to be more at ease with the impending changes than I expected – maybe that’s the perspective you gain over 89 years of living and seeing the world change around you.

I was rewarded with an invitation to roam about his shop and to make some photographs. Oddly enough, one of the stories that Jerry shared with me is that if he didn’t have the exact replacement vinyls for just about any vintage auto, his friend in Portland, Oregon would surely have it and all he would need to do is give him a call. Little did I know at that time that I would indeed find myself moving that that very city a few months latter… Strange how small and interconnected the world is sometimes…

I have an upholstery shop to find here in Portland .

Thanks Jerry. I hope things turn out well for you in Des Moines.


Invincible Deluxe
2006


300 Block – East Walnut
Des Moines, Iowa
2006


Spare Arms – Geller’s Shop
2006


Inventory Stock – Geller’s Shop
2006


Mr. Jerome Geller
Des Moines, Iowa
2006



Untitled [Geller’s work table]
2006


Untitled [Back room – Geller’s Machine Shop]

2006


Geller’s Machine Shop
Des Moines, Iowa
2006

More of my work here:  www.mattniebuhr.com

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